Farmers are certainly the last of a dying breed. I’ve watched them fight through snowstorms, hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. I’ve known farmers who have worked through migraines, pneumonia, broken bones, and cancer. We’re strong, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. We can literally give everything we have, sleep for two hours, then wake up and do it all over again. There is one thing that can bring any farmer to their knees, the thought of losing their farm.
Dairy farm families all over the country are facing this heartbreaking reality. Added to the feelings of helplessness and depression, is the isolation that comes with the demands of dairy farm life. It’s so easy to feel lost and alone in the industry. No one wants to say the words out loud because it makes the struggle too real. It’s hard to look the people you love in the eye and tell them that you can’t make ends meet and that you can’t really explain why. Well, this is me saying it because I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only farmer feeling lost and hopeless right now. And if it helps one farmer feel more understood and less alone, I can’t afford to not say it out loud any longer.
The author dairies in partnership with her parents and brother at Spruce Row Farm in Pennsylvania. Jessica is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, and since 2015, she has been active in promoting dairy in her local community. You can find her and her 250 Jersey cows on Facebook at Spruce Row Dairy or on Instagram at @seejessfarm.